This season could be painful for Penn State football. It will be challenging at the very least.
Throughout the off-season reports and rumors have swirled about Joe Paterno’s health. Will he be on the sidelines for all of the games? If it’s physically possible, he will be there, but if what people are saying is true, JoePa is showing his age more than ever before. I do know this – he’s not retiring. He had to cancel a number of appearances over the past few months and is limiting his schedule to focus on football. He also should be working on an accession plan, too.
BIG ISSUE NUMBER 1 – Quaterback. Darryl Clark is gone. Three freshmen and three sophomores currently sit on the roster. Last week at his press conference, Paterno danced ably around the question of who will be the starting quarterback, despite his physical woes. True sophomore Kevin Newsome is being touted by some to get the nod, but Matthew McGloin, a red-shirt freshman, impressed in his spring game and is my guess to be under center for the first game - based solely on the amount of text on his player profile page and despite the fact he doesn’t have a head shot on the Web site yet, but all in due time.
Penn State should have a comfortable warm up against Youngstown on Sept. 4 and should be able to do some fine tuning, but then comes
BIG ISSUE NUMBER 2 – Alabama, as in the Crimson Tide, as in the top team in the country. The Nittany Lions will have their mettle tested but good on Sept. 11 in Tuscaloosa. That will show a lot (but not everything) about how good or bad this 2010 squad will be. Lest we forget the 1982 squad which won a National Championship after going 11-1 – the loss being a 42-21 drubbing at Alabama. I don’t think this team is nearly as good, but it’s not terrible either.
Penn State will be able to lick its wounds at home against Kent State and Temple before heading to Iowa. Yeah, that’s right. Iowa. Where they never win. This is enough to mull over for now, so let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
The PSU defense will be strong – as always. Special teams need to improve drastically over last year, and that’s very do-able. The QB is a question mark but Paterno’s never been afraid to stick to a ground game – we all know that. With Evan Royster 481 yards shy of Curt Warner’s all-time rushing record and Stephfon Green putting up impressive numbers of his own, the running backs should do ok if the O-line continues to hold up its end of the deal. The coaches moved some people around on the line but overall they should be fine as long as they remember when they felt short last year.
Right now SI.com is picking PSU fourth in the Big 10 with a 5-3 league record and 8-4 overall. I’m thinking they’ll be a bit better than that actually – 6-2 and 9-3, thanks. Happy Valley won’t be ecstatic this year, but it won’t be sad, either.
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Written by Stephanie Geosits